The research group is dedicated to qualitative social science research on the phenomenon of conspiracy theories and brings together religious scholars, anthropologists, folklorists, ethnologists, linguists and political scientists. In the last decade, conspiracy theories have become a significant social phenomenon, raising fears and even panic, and reinforcing the state of a “divided society”, where “disinformationists” and “disinformation warriors” are pitted against each other. However, the perspective given by the aforementioned fields of scholarship allows conspiracies to be approached with a similar understanding as the study of religion, mythology or folklore.
In addition to the usefulness of this perspective in terms of advancing academic inquiry into the phenomenon of conspiracies, the participating scholars also aim to shift the public discourse on conspiracies and bridge the sharp contrast between conspiracy and anti-conspiracy positions. Reading conspiracy models as analogous to mythology allows us to analyze the phenomenon with methods and theories developed for mythology, religiosity, and folklore, and to situate conspiracies in broader social contexts rather than pathologizing or superficially debunking them.
Through a collective research seminar, the group will focus on developing appropriate methodological tools, uncovering key aspects of the topic, producing collective publications, and jointly developing grant projects. The group places equal emphasis on the public presence of individual members in the media in the form of interviews, articles, online debates and youtube videos, with the aim of informing the public about the research results and helping to cultivate public discourse.